April 25, 2005
“Who’s they’re?” *
When I think back, it seems I began to meet it’s in the early 1980s. I don’t recall having seen him in the ‘70s at all, or at any time before that. So what phenomenon of the early 1980s paralleled the birth of the new illiteracy, possibly pointing to its origin? I have no ready answer to that question, but that does seem to be the time when a large majority of American voters voted for Reagan. And Thatcher and Clark, both Conservatives, had just been elected in the UK and Canada, respectively. Hmm… And, before I go any further, I want to stress that I am not at all referring to dyslexic or intellectually challenged people. Such people can’t help making mistakes. I am talking about "normal" people who can learn the correct way of writing certain words, but who won’t. All I can say is that, in my experience, illiteracisms such as these words (what else can one call them?) do seem to be associated with a certain kind of mentality. It is the mentality that never tries to acquire a deep and clear understanding of the world around it. Rather, it lives with myths and legends handed down to it from its forebears, never bothering to get a clear understanding of even those myths and legends, let alone to question them.
As a public service, then, and hopeful that my meager endeavour may help usher in a new Age of Enlightenment…LOL…here is a list of some of these illiteracisms, along with corrections thereto:
1/ It’s: This abbreviation has two possible meanings, and those are its only possible meanings. You noticed I just wrote "its only possible meanings"? That is because it would have been wrong to say "it’s only possible meanings". Why? Because, as I said, it’s has two meanings, and two meanings only. It can be an abbreviation for “it is” or for “it has.” It has no other common meanings or usages.
2/ Who’s: Again, who’s can mean one of two things, and only two things: “who is” or “who has.” When you write “Who’s blog is this?” you actually mean to say “Whose blog is this?” Yes, whose, NOT who’s. Remember that.
3/ They’re / their / there (as well as your/you're): Here we run into a veritable forest of illiteracisms. It seems entire populations of English speaking people are unaware that these are three completely different words, as evidenced by the fact that they use them interchangeably on a daily basis (one of them is two words, by the way). I won’t go into the details of what each of them means, as it would probably be a futile effort. If an adult didn’t learn their differing meanings while still in school, it’s too late to begin now. I have to end this post on a pessimistic note. People who don’t know, and won’t find out, the difference between “they’re” and “their” will surely never learn to look beneath the lies that their governments tell them.
* The title of this post refers to the way some people would write "Who's there?"
Excellent blog by the way. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I understand that this entry was meant as more of a light, almost comical piece, with no real intended political message, so I mean no offense, but here on the south side of Chicago, the victims of the worst of America's domestic atrocities rarely posess perfect grammar. In fact, the language they speak often could barely be considered English, and their concerns can are easily ignored by those in power, and by society in general.
I don't know if this is as true in Canada, but here in the United States, as I am sure you know, pretty much all positions of power are dominated by the "educated". Most government officials and heads of corporations come from a wealthy elite class. They are born rich, they attend exclusive schools like Harvard or Yale, which they are accepted to based entirely on who they and their parents are, rather than what they have achieved. They think they are naturally superior to those who, unlike them, have not been insulated from the harsh realities of life, and thus grow to believe that they know the needs of the underprivilaged better than they themselves do.
am glad i am getting closer to the big man day by day. . .
th ftre is fkked upd. . .
they sed so.
Hoist with your own petard.
I wrote a post about it's/its, they're/their/there/ and your/you're, but never posted it. I couldn't make it humorous enough and didn't want to offend readers who are smart but grammatically challenged.
I'm glad you did it!!
Tire's, Shock Plug's
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I even see them on TV, on local newscasts or sports shows.
My partner and I are forever pointing them out to each other. It's a losing battle, but it drives me crazy nonetheless.
Or should I say nonethele's?
Isn't refused comment as of this printing.
It may seem persnickety to bemoan the foibles of people who choose to ignore grammar and rules of language...but once those flaws become common parlance, we begin the slippery slope towards illiteracy and mass confusion!
Thanks for this post!
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